Key Milestones of Surrogacy with ISC
Interview with the Surrogacy Agency
The first step will be your interview with the agency and the staff at International Surrogacy Center. It is very important to us to meet our surrogates before we present their profiles to the Intended Parents (IPs). At this interview, you will receive the application and surrogate benefit packet. Based on the circumstances, this interview can be done either in person, through Skype, or over the phone. The surrogate’s profile is created by the agency through your original application. It is very important to have proper grammar, complete sentences, and good pictures. The profile is what the IPs will see and how they decide if they are interested in speaking with you. We will not share your personal information until you are confirmed matched with IPs.
Requesting OB Records from Previous Pregnancies
It is necessary for you to request the OB and delivery records from all of your previous pregnancies. You will need to contact the OB/GYN(s) and hospital(s) that you went to for all of your pregnancies and deliveries. It is very important you get this done right away, as sometimes they can take a long time to receive. Please have them faxed to our agency at (951) 530-3258. You will need to sign a medical release form; they will have one from their office or might ask for us to send them one from our office. In either case, you will need to sign the release form authorizing them to send us your records.
Matching with your Potential Intended Parents
The second step is to decide if you would like to speak/meet the Intended Parents that are interested in your profile. Once we have someone that is interested in your profile, we will email you their profile to review. If you like their profile and want to meet them, we will arrange a time for you, the IPs, and a member of our staff to meet or Skype together.
Meeting the Potential Intended Parents
The third step is to meet the potential Intended Parents, either in person or through Skype. Both parties can ask questions to get an idea of how each other feels about the process, and you will have an opportunity to get to know the parents who you will be carrying a child for. This meeting is intended to create a bond of trust between both parties, as it is very important that both parties are comfortable with each other. This is a mutual decision, and once both parties agree they want to work together, it is then we consider it a match!
Purchasing Health Insurance
If you do not have health insurance we will help you take out a new policy as soon as it is possible. This policy is to be used during the surrogacy process and will be paid for by the Intended Parents. You will be contacted by our Insurance agent to apply for medical insurance that will cover maternity care. The first month’s payment will be paid for by the agency. Once you have signed the legal Surrogacy contracts you will then start requesting the insurance payment amount on your monthly reimbursement form. It is your responsibility to make the insurance payment every month to keep the policy active and then seek reimbursement. Reimbursement forms will need to be filled out and submitted by 15th of each month.
Criminal Background Check and Psychological Examination of the Surrogate
Once you and the IPs have decided to match, you will start the screening process. With the information you submitted, we will run a criminal background check on you and your spouse/partner/boyfriend (if applicable). Next, we will contact our psychologist to get in touch with you to set up a psychological screening. The psychologist will talk with you as well as have you do an online test. We will update you with the results of the screenings.
Medical Examination of the Surrogate
The Intended Parents will choose which IVF (fertility) clinic they would like to work with. Once the doctor specializing in fertility has reviewed your medical records, the doctor will contact you to schedule an appointment based on where you are in your monthly cycle. The medical examination consists of collecting a urine sample, a blood sample and an ultrasound of the uterus. Surrogates who are married or are in a relationship will be required to have her spouse/boyfriend/partner undergo similar blood tests. This can be done at the IVF clinic during your appointment, or they can send you a lab slip for your partner to go to a local lab (such as Quest Diagnostics or LabCorp). You will be tested for drug use, smoking, diseases, illnesses and overall health. The medical examination results will be obtained within seven to fifteen days after they have been completed. These tests are done to be certain that the surrogate and her spouse/boyfriend/partner are healthy and ready to begin the process of surrogacy. The IPs pay the clinic directly for your medical screening and IVF treatments.
Signature of the Contract by Surrogate and Intended Parents
When you are matched we will assign you a surrogacy attorney that we work with (your attorney will be paid for by the IPs). Once you (and your spouse/partner/boyfriend if applicable) have been medically cleared by the fertility clinic, both parties with their respective lawyers will go over the surrogacy contract and make sure they understand the contract and address any corrections or changes to be made. This is usually done with a draft before the final contract is ready to be notarized and signed. This process can take up to a month; it all depends on how both parties cooperate. It is very important that the surrogate signs the contract and notarizes it in a county that the lawyer refers them to. We will explain this more thoroughly when you are in the contract phase.
The Role of International Surrogacy Center
International Surrogacy Center will be guiding you and your Intended Parents through the entire surrogacy process. We will notify the professionals (IVF clinic, attorneys, psychologist, etc.) of your match, send referrals and help coordinate appointments. We will constantly update you and your IPs with the results of your screenings and next steps. We will call you to check in with you to see how you are doing and if you have any concerns or questions. Our priority as an agency is to mediate between you and your IPs and serve primarily as a guide in this process. It is very important to us at International Surrogacy Center that our customers (you and the IPs) have a memorable and enjoyable experience and remember this as one of the most fulfilling experiences of your life!
First Payments Due to Surrogate
Please do not discuss money with your IPs; as an agency that is our job, and we are happy to mediate so that you can enjoy a smooth relationship with your IPs. If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know so that we can help you. Once legal contracts have been signed and notarized (and depending what your contract states) you will be able to start submitting reimbursement forms for payments. Reimbursement forms are to be turned in to us by the 15th of each month. You will receive a check from your IP’s attorney or their escrow account by the 1st-5th of the following month. We will send out a monthly email reminder with a reimbursement form attached.
Fertility Treatments for the Surrogate
You will be able to start the fertility treatment after contracts have been signed by both parties and the IVF clinic has received legal clearance from your IP’s attorney. The IVF clinic will send you a cycle calendar with instructions on how and when to take the medications, and the medications will be mailed to your home. It is very important that you keep track of the medications and order enough when running low. Missing even one dose is critical as it can cause the whole cycle to be canceled, or if you are pregnant, it can cause you to miscarry. Medications (daily) will be taken 4-6 weeks before the embryo transfer, and if you are pregnant after the transfer, you will stay on medications up to 10-12 weeks of pregnancy.
As a surrogate, you will undergo an embryo transfer after you have started medications. The process is quick and painless, and many compare it to having a pap smear. The IVF doctor uses a thin catheter-like tube to transfer the embryo/s into the uterus. The average number of embryos transferred is two. You will then lay flat with your pelvis elevated for about 15-45 minutes. After that, you will be able to go home if you live local to the clinic. Some clinics require you to be on bed rest for 1-3 days, meaning you are allowed to get up to use the restroom or shower only. Someone will need to go with you to the IVF clinic for your embryo transfer so they can help you and drive you home if your clinic requires bed rest.
Testing the Surrogate for Pregnancy
Once you have the embryo transfer, the fertility clinic will schedule a pregnancy blood test for you at the IVF clinic within approximately two weeks. If the blood test results are positive, you will have another blood test done about a week later to check if the pregnancy hormone levels are increasing. If the levels are increasing appropriately, the IVF clinic will schedule your first ultrasound appointment for a week or two later to confirm the baby has a heartbeat and determine how many embryos were successful during the transfer. *It is very important to continue medication once confirmed pregnant. After the heartbeat is confirmed via ultrasound, your first base compensation will be paid to you on the first of the following month.
Surrogate Released to Personal OB/GYN
Within eight to twelve weeks after the embryo transfer, the IVF doctor will release you to your personal OB/GYN for prenatal care for the remainder of your pregnancy. It is your responsibility to inform the agency of the OB/GYN’s information and the date and time of your first appointment. International Surrogacy Center staff will attend the Surrogate’s first OB/GYN appointment to help the transition from the IVF clinic go smoothly, and any appointment that the Surrogate or the Intended Parents wish. From this point forward, you will be the means of communicating information between the OB doctor and your Intended Parents. International Surrogacy Center requires the Surrogate to keep us updated throughout the pregnancy with appointment dates and how each appointment goes, and anything else that would be considered important information. *Please make sure your OB doctor and planned delivery hospital is in-network for your insurance network and group.
Intended Parents can request that the surrogate do a 4D ultrasound between 26 and 34 weeks pregnant. This is a special and fun ultrasound that lets the IPs see their baby sleeping or playing in 4D! The cost of this ultrasound, about $80 to $200 depending on the number of babies, will be covered by the Intended Parents. International Surrogacy Center can supply the Intended Parents and the Surrogate with a list of providers near her who specialize in this type of ultrasound.
Parental Establishment Judgement
Around the 24th week of pregnancy, International Surrogacy Center will inform the attorneys that the Surrogate is still pregnant; therefore the Judgment for the parental rights of the IPs for their child(ren) can be established. This Judgement is what allows the IP(s) to be named the legal parent(s) on the baby’s birth certificate. This is important because it allows all decisions regarding the baby after it is born to be made by the Intended Parent(s), and ensures the baby is legally released to the Intended Parent(s) at the hospital as well. It is very important that the surrogate check her emails often and return all paperwork in a timely manner to aid in getting the Judgement done on time.
Presence of Intended Parents During Childbirth
The Intended Parents may wish to be present during the birth of their baby. If the surrogate requires a Cesarean-Section, the doctor will usually only allow one support person present during the surgery. If a C-Section is required, the surrogate will choose and inform us of who she prefers to be in the room with her. Normally it is not a problem to have the Intended Mother or Intended Father in the room, but in case of complications, the surrogate may want her own support person in the room with her for support.
Surrogate Appreciation Day
ISC hosts Surrogate Appreciation Days for their surrogates that are under contract. The Surrogate is eligible to attend one Surrogate Appreciation Day while in contract. This is a limited space event and an email invitation is sent out from ISC to qualifying surrogates. It is an all-expense paid day filled with pampering, relaxing, eating, and socializing (usually held at a local spa resort). These events are always a lot of fun and are our way of saying thank you for choosing ISC as your Surrogacy Agency!
If you have any questions about the Surrogacy requirements or becoming a Surrogate mother, please don’t hesitate to contact our office at (619) 591-9113. We are happy to clarify and discuss any concerns that you may have prior to taking the next step. For those that meet the Surrogate requirements and would like to move forward with our program, we invite you to fill out our initial contact form.